By Jim A. Luff
Just before I left for the ILCT Show I had completed an RFP (request for proposal) for a nearby casino. The casino was looking for an “exclusive provider” of luxury transportation service for their regular clients as well as entertainers coming to perform at the casino.
The RFP contained all the standard stuff about how often they might need service, how they need the best price and blah, blah, blah. We all know that the “best price” means the lowest price. I am never fond of sending such documents without getting a personal meeting to go over the details of the proposal. Instead of just sending the price list, as so many do, I include much more information. Like how we hire, train and monitor our employees.
I like to make sure they know all the vehicles we have. Maybe they don’t know that we have a luxury van with a hydraulic wheelchair lift. Maybe they have a high-roller that could benefit by this. Maybe they might appreciate the fact that we have a 24/7 dispatcher on duty so late night flight arrivals are no problem if something goes awry.
So, I put my glowing little proposal together with all my facts, figures and company history and sent it away. I timed a phone call for one day after the document should have arrived. The casino is about a one and a half hour drive in case you were wondering why I didn’t just drive it over. So, I speak to the guy and he gives me the standard line of how my pricing was a little higher than some of the other proposals and he wanted me to “sharpen my pencil”.
I explained to him that “sharpening the pencil” is really the equivalent of cutting corners or degrading the service in some way. It could mean using discount brand tires instead of Michelin tires that we believe provide a better and safer ride. Or, perhaps we should change from Chevron gas to AM/PM and risk the engines pinging as they climb the mountain range to get there. Maybe we can eliminate the night dispatcher and hope nothing comes up during a late night ride home from the casino.
After explaining all this, he seemed to understand. He seemed like he was willing to spend a little more for a higher quality of service. Now, I am back from Vegas. I still have no orders and no letter confirming that we have been selected. I don’t want to be a bug and end up losing out for that reason. Should I call him again?
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